Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
A good guide to help us understand the Bible as God gave it is known as “the principle of first mention”. This principle teaches us that we look at where God first mentions a doctrine and then we look at how God develops that doctrine throughout the Scriptures. The principle of first mention must always be developed with the context in mind.
In our verses we see that God created man and put him into the garden of Eden. God created man and thus He had the authority to put man where He wanted him to be. God gave the man work to do in the garden. He needed to dress it and keep it. The Hebrew word translated as “dress” means to work. That Hebrew word is found 288 times in 261 verses. Man was not created to sit around and do nothing. He was created to be productive.
The Hebrew word translated as “keep” means to guard and observe. There were no weeds at that time. We are not told what man was to watch out for, but we can see that one of the things he needed to watch out for was the corruption of the devil. We are not told exactly when Satan fell. We know that he came into the garden and deceived Eve. Adam should have protected Eve and kept her from communicating with the devil. Rather, he allowed her to be deceived and then he willingly chose to believe the lie of the devil.
In verse 16 God told Adam that he could eat freely from every tree in the garden. There was an abundance of food there for Adam to eat. God knows what man needs and He provided everything that was needed for man. There was no danger of man getting sick, but sickness did not exist before the fall of man. There was no concern of dying, because death did not exist prior to the fall of man.
In verse 17 God gave us the little word “but”. Adam could eat of every tree, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man did not need the fruit of that tree. The Bible does not tell us what type of fruit that was. God does tell us it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam not to eat of it.
God shows us that He made man with the ability to choose. In order to have the ability to choose, there needs to be a choice put before man. God made man and placed him in a world that had no sin. There was nothing to clutter his mind. There was nothing to hinder man from following God’s way. He knew that God’s way was good. He knew that all his needs were met.
God warned man that he was not to eat of the fruit of that one specific tree. He also warned him that the day he would eat of that fruit, he would surely die. There was no ambiguity here. Adam did not need to try to figure out what God meant by that. He did not need to read between the lines. Today there are too many people who do not want to take words and accept them for what they mean.
In professional terms we call some of these people “political scientists”. They certainly are political but there is nothing scientific about them. They like to speculate on things based on their own biases. Society has come to respect these people and commentators will run to their favourite individual to get their spin on what a person says or does.
These people think they are gifted to “analyze” what the person actually means with their choice of words. They spin a yarn, and someone else will spin a different yarn. Gullible people listen to these twisters and believe the lies, rather than just listening to what the person says and watching their follow-through, or lack thereof. The key to believing a person is that the person is believable.
When it comes to God He is absolutely believable. Adam had no reason to doubt what God said. God had just created everything around Adam. He made everything and it was very good. Adam was given intelligence from God. He could see that God is good. He could know that God meant what He said in verse 17 of our text.
In Genesis 3:6 we read that Adam chose to reject what he knew to be true, and he chose to eat of the forbidden fruit. He chose to do the opposite of what God had declared to him. Adam discovered the hard way that God meant exactly what He said. The day that Adam ate that forbidden fruit, he died. He was spiritually dead. He now needed to deal with his nakedness. His nakedness was more than just an absence of material clothing. His nakedness included the inability to stand before a holy God. He had no cloak for his sin. He tried to remedy the problem by making aprons by sewing fig leaves together for Eve and himself. When God came into the Garden, they both discovered that those aprons were useless. They then tried to hide in the Garden, but they discovered that there is no place to hide from God. They were both guilty before God and they had no human solution to their dilemma. Their hope was in turning to God in repentance and confessing their sin to Him and seeking His forgiveness. They did not do that.
We learn from this principle of first mention that God is holy and that He will not allow any sin into His presence. Adam only needed to commit one sin to condemn himself. He was immediately spiritually dead and his body began to die as well. Physical death is different for each person. Some die young and some die old. However, all will die physically. Since the fall of man, all are born spiritually dead.
The point we want to make in today’s study is that sin separates us from God.
God showed Adam and Eve that there needed to be the shedding of blood to provide a covering for their sin. Before God showed them that, He promised them:
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
God had the only solution to man’s sin. That solution would require the sacrifice of the seed of the woman in order to remove the curse of sin. That seed would need to deal with the bondage that man was now under. The Bible develops that seed to be a man. That man is revealed to be the Lord Jesus Christ. He is more than just a physical man. He is the eternal Son of God Who became a man in order to be able to bruise the head of the serpent in the way required of God.
The only One that can overcome the power of the devil is God. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead. He was without sin and He still is without sin. He alone provides the means for man to be forgiven and set free from the bondage of sin.
We must keep in mind that no sin is acceptable to God. That is why Jesus Christ is the only One Who could pay for our sins. He is without sin. He did not need to pay for His sins first. He is without sin and thus He can deal effectively with the curse of sin that man is born under.
As we keep in mind the fact that no sin can enter God’s presence, we will see how God further points that out throughout the Bible.
This is important to note and to follow. We are not suggesting any type of works salvation. We will see God’s plan in the Bible.